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Concern over heart centre funding, location review by Health Ministry: ‘Uphold PM’s pledge to Sabah’
Published on: Sunday, June 16, 2024
By: Jonathan Nicholas
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Concern over heart centre funding, location review by Health Ministry: ‘Uphold PM’s pledge to Sabah’
Sabah Minister of Community Development and People’s Wellbeing Datuk James Ratib (left) and Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (right)
Kota Kinabalu: It will be wrong and unfair for the Ministry of Health to redirect funding from already approved health projects in Sabah towards the construction of the RM80 million heart centre announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in April.

Sabah Minister of Community Development and People’s Wellbeing Datuk James Ratib said he would be appealing to the Ministry via letter. 

“This is really shocking. Anwar who came here to make the announcement should fund it through the Ministry of Finance. Sabah’s special funding was used to upgrade the health clinics, yet now it is being diverted. 

“Repurposing existing allocations to make claim for a new project is nonsense. Sabah might as well have announced building the heart centre ourselves. 

“The Sabah Health Department is saying approved upgrades to health clinics such as in Tenom are among affected.

“I hope they do not suddenly interfere with the rebuilding of the Tangkarason Health Clinic in Beluran and the one in Mansiat, Sook, which were lost to fires.

“I ask the Ministry that any project that has been approved to upgrade or build facilities in Sabah should not be disturbed or messed with. I even heard that funding for CT and PET scanners are affected,” he said.

“Do what the PM announced through the Ministry of Finance to build the heart centre.” 

James earlier lobbied for the heart centre to be sited at Queen Elizabeth Hospital 2 since it has existing facilities and just needs upgrading. 

However it’s Minister (Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad) during his visit here in May contemplated building it in University Malaysia Sabah (UMS).

“We don’t even know when the UMS Hospital will be completed. It will not be so soon and Sabah desperately needs a heart centre. I hope it remains in Queen 2 with the addition of cardiologists. 

“We have waited so long for this and now to take the funding from other projects to top-up a new one is injustice,” he said, after launching the Family Care Clinic in Gaya Street on Saturday. 

He also encouraged more private healthcare providers to open in interior districts to supplement the government.

“Especially in estates. If everyone concentrated on government health clinics it would be detrimental to the already lacking staff’s mental health.

“Sabah is vast and is still lacking on many levels. We already top the list of cancer patients in the country. Why? Because we lack the facilities. 

“Our neighbour Sarawak is adequately equipped.

“Even so, only 1 out of 10 patients bother to scan themselves for cancer. The rest, when they eventually do, almost always discover they are already in the late stages,” he said. 

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